What is Speech Therapy?
Speech therapy is the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of speech and language disorders and other communication challenges. The goal of speech therapy is to improve speech, language, and communication skills, focusing on things such as fluency, phonology, and articulation.
Speech therapy also helps to boost comprehension abilities, independence and confidence. Speech therapy is successful when it results in clear and effective communication skills, as well as strong comprehension and interpretation skills. Getting started with speech therapy through Great Speech is simple and easy. Start your speech therapy journey by scheduling your free introductory call today!
How Does Speech Therapy Work for Children?
Speech therapy for children begins with a thorough evaluation of the child’s communication skills, identifying the areas of particular difficulty, and establishing short and long-term goals. From there, the speech therapist will design a fully customized treatment plan to optimize the speech therapy appointments and help the child reach their goals. There are a variety of approaches and techniques that a speech and language pathologist will use when working closely with a child. Some of these include:
- The Use of Picture Boards
- The Use of Sign Language, Hand Writing, or Typing to Communicate
- Modulation of the Tone of Voice
- Interpreting Body Language and Facial Expression
- Targeting Specific Letter Sounds and Sound Combinations
- Opportunities to Practice Conversation Skills
- Playing with Volume, Pitch, and Speed of Speech
These techniques focus on empowering the child and equipping them with the skills and techniques necessary for them to succeed in social, academic, and personal situations. Speech therapy is a great option for all children, even those who are on track with their communication skills and development. Getting started is as easy as scheduling your free introductory call today!
What are Some Speech Therapy Exercises to Try at Home? What Exercises Help with Speech?
While speech therapy with an experienced speech and language pathologist is the best resource when it comes to improving communication skills, there are lots of ways to work on your child’s communication skills at home. Here are some of the best free exercises to engage in at home to work with your child to help them communicate more effectively and feel more confident.
Communicate with your Child – While this may seem overly obvious or simple, communicating consistently with your child is of vital importance. Starting from birth, talk to your child, and repeat their sounds back to them as they experiment with their voice. As the child grows, engage with them by telling them what you are doing, naming objects and loved ones, and spending time talking together. When there is a focus on communication in a child’s environment, the child will be more inclined to participate in the communication.
Sing Songs – Singing is another wonderful and fun way to encourage your child to develop their speech and language skills. Songs will help the child to learn and master the use of new words, as well as teach them about rhyming words and playing with the pitch, tone, and speed of their voice.
Read Together – Reading to your child is deeply important when it comes to helping them develop their communication skills. Start reading to your child as an infant, choosing age-appropriate books that will encourage them to pay attention, match words to pictures, and encourage them to learn new words. Reading aloud is one of the best ways to expand a child’s vocabulary.
Engage in Daily Activities Together – Invite your child to participate in routine activities with you. Doing things together such as making a grocery list, planning a party of celebration, creating a menu for the week ahead, or writing in a journal are great ways to collaborate with your child, encourage their communication skills, and teach them valuable lessons about navigating daily life.
Storytelling – Storytelling is another fun and simple way to practice communicating with your child. You can try telling them a short story and having them repeat it back to you. You can also play games such as “fortunately, unfortunately” where you take turns adding a sentence to the story. These games help encourage your child to listen and understand the story, as well as retain the information and recall it.
Limit Access – One very simple technique to encourage your child to communicate is to limit their access to certain items. By putting a beloved toy in the closet or a favorite snack in a cupboard they can’t reach. The child is then encouraged to make a verbal request for that item.
Play Games – Playing games with your child, whether it is a simple game of hide and seek or a board or card game, playing games helps to establish some essential skills. Skills such as taking turns, listening to and understanding directions, and following rules are the building blocks of strong social and communication abilities.
Listen! – While this may seem like another overly simple or obvious exercise, listening to your child when they speak is essential to building confidence and communication. Allow the child the time that they need to think and respond. Resist the urge to finish their sentences or immediately fill any pauses or silences when your child is speaking.
Make Silly Sounds and Faces – This activity can be done in front of a mirror, and you and your child make silly faces while looking at your reflections. You can also experiment with different sounds and vocalizations. This encourages the child to play with their facial features and their voice, which in turn encourages a sense of control and mastery while also boosting articulation and personal and spatial awareness.
Engage in Physical Activities – Activities such as blowing bubbles and blowing up balloons help to strengthen the muscles required for speech, and encourage the child’s physical abilities and mastery of their breath.
Ask Lots of Questions / Play Interview – Asking questions of your child is a great way to encourage them to communicate and practice the give-and-take of natural conversation. Be sure to engage them in topics that are of particular interest to them, to encourage their participation more fully.
While there are lots of wonderful ways to encourage the development of your child’s speech, language, and communication skills at home, the best resource for a child’s communication is speech therapy. Speech therapy is a great option for all children, even those who are developing as they should. Get your child started on a path to improved communication and increased confidence by scheduling your free introductory call today!